Essential oils and aromatherapy is a system which has been used for thousands of years in order to boost feelings and is well known for their therapeutic qualities. Today aromatherapy is a popular practise which is used in the home, the hospital, clinic, the workplace and school. Aromatherapy relies on the use of essential oils; essential oils are taken from plants. The plants roots, stems, fruits, leaves and bark are all used to extract the oils from.
The essential oils can be extracted by a variety of means; popular ways of extraction include steam distillation, expression and pressing. The oils can then be used in many methods, the popular forms are inhalation, by the use of a vaporiser or massaged into the skin.
There are specialised trained aromatherapist, although there are also a wide range of ready mixed oils available in health food shops and chemists, these have been specially formulated using combinations of individual oils for a particular problem or area.
How does aromatherapy work?
In the case of inhalation the essential oils work by the sense of smell, the oils stimulate the receptors in the brain and trigger reactions. Studies have shown when using a brain scan that certain areas of the brain are affected by the sense of smell and this is how the oils target the persons system.
Certain components of the essential oils are also known to be absorbed through the skin; this takes them directly into the bloodstream and then goes onto having an influence over the person’s mental health, the nervous system and emotions.
What happens during a consultation with an aromatherapist?
An aromatherapist is not a Doctor and as such will not make a medical examination of the patient; they will however take a full history of your background and the problems that brought you to them. Once they have done this then they will set about putting together essential oils specifically aimed at the areas and problems you are having trouble in.
The aromatherapist will usually ask you to undress to your underwear and will then use the specially selected oils to perform a massage. Although the Swedish massage technique is the one which is most commonly used, there are several techniques which an aromatherapist can use.
How safe is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine and as with any medication there can be side effects. The most common side effect that you can have is during the treatment, this is a slight drowsiness.
On very rare occasions the essential oils used have been known to cause adverse reactions on the skin, these are usually in the form of a rash. Essential oils should always be very well diluted to avoid this reaction, however providing you get treatment from an aromatherapist this is very rarely a big problem.
In very rare cases where there is generally an underlying problem that the aromatherapist hasn’t been told about, oils can cause severe problems. This is usually problems with the breathing if you are asthmatic, aromatherapy also shouldn’t be used if you are recovering from surgery or if you suffer from epilepsy.
To be safe always visit a qualified aromatherapist for treatment and if you intend using oils at home then get the advice of the therapist first.